The Lone Swordsman
“How long’s it gonna take?” Jonah asked. Sabishi looked over at him. The sun was beating down on the two and this was the 20th time he had asked this question today. Yet, Sabishi still decided to play dumb.
“How long is what going to take?” Jonah shaked his head.
“Oh c’mon, swordsman! How long’s it gonna take to get to London from here?!” Jonah asked, once again. Sabishi turns around with a sigh.
“Jonah, you’ve asked this over 10 times already. I don’t know. We’ll just have to wait until we get to the next town for a timeframe.” He explains, before turning around and quickly continuing on his way.
“Jonah, of course, doesn’t like this explanation. “Okay, then. How long’s it gonna take to get to the next town?!” Sabishi stops once again, but he doesn’t turn around this time.
“Jonah, you’re going to be 14 soon, and you’re still asking stupid questions like this?” He looks back at Jonah with cold and unfeeling eyes. Jonah can feel his bones rattle as he shivers from the look Sabishi owns on his face. “Grow up.” Sabishi says, before continuing on his way.
Jonah gulps, before opening his mouth again. “But my legs hurt!” He yells. “We’ve been walking for the past few hours without taking any breaks! Can we please stop?! Please? Please? Plea-”
“You know, if you were in Japan, none of the adults over there would tolerate this type of behavior.” Sabishi’s tone of voice sounds even more annoyed now. Jonah chuckles.
“Can you let me ride on your back? Please, swordsman? My legs are killing me!” Sabishi groans.
“Fine.” He bends down, resting one of his knees on the ground, and one knee is bent upwards. He places his palms down near his waist, before looking over at Jonah. “Get on.” He says. Jonah grins, before placing his arms around Sabishi’s neck, and crossing his legs around Sabishi’s chiseled stomach.
Sabishi grunts and pulls himself up and then proceeds to walk forwards. Is it a bit of extra work? Yes. But is it worth it just to get Jonah to shut his mouth? Also yes. Sabishi walks forwards for the next few minutes, until Jonah leans in and whispers into his ear.
“Y’know, swordsman, I could pull my arms around your neck and choke you to death right now. Should I do it?” He asks, with a threatening grin. However, Sabishi doesn’t even flinch. Instead, he just keeps on walking, before he opens his mouth.
“I wouldn’t try it, Jonah. I hope you remember that I am a trained warrior, so I could easily kill you on the spot.” He loudly exclaims. Jonah’s eyes widen and he quickly pulls his head away from Sabishi’s, with a slightly frightened look on his face.
Forty-five minutes later and the situation hasn’t improved for Sabishi in any way, shape or form.
“Giddy up! Giddy up, my dumb, fat, horse! GAHAHAHA!” Jonah screeches, kicking and hitting his fists against Sabishi’s back. “Giddy up! Go, you stupid hor-”
“Jonah, I wouldn’t be doing any of this if I were you.” Sabishi informs him. Jonah doesn’t stop, however. After Sabishi’s previous threat, Jonah had eventually received the courage to continue his actions, which led to him noticing that Sabishi really wasn’t attacking him at all. He laughs and spits on Sabishi’s head.
“So?! What’re you gonna do to me, swordsman?! You ain’t got the guts to kill me-!” Sabishi quickly placed his hands on Jonah’s arms, gripping them tightly, before quickly flipping him down on his ass straight onto the dirt road below them. Jonah rolled away, screaming as he hit the ground.
“Stupid swordsman! What the hell are you doing!?” He screams, as he attempts to stand back up. However, his attempts fail him and he continues to collapse back onto the ground. Sabishi turns around and looks at him, before letting out a small chuckle.
“I warned you.” He says, before turning back around and continuing to walk away. Jonah stares at Sabishi, bewildered by what he just witnessed.
“Swordsman…did you just…laugh?” He whispers. Jonah has good reason to be shocked in this case. Sabishi had never shown any real ounce of emotion towards him ever since they met in the ruins of his village. However, recently Sabishi had been starting to lighten up and make small jokes here and there. But this was the first time Jonah has ever seen Sabishi laugh at all.
In any case, Jonah snaps out of his shock quickly enough to get up and quickly catch up to Sabishi.
“Swordsman, wait up!” He yells. Sabishi stops moving. He looks back at Jonah, before he jolts and looks up at the sky. Jonah pants as he slows down and walks right next to Sabishi. He looks up at his face as Sabishi’s eyes widen. Jonah looks over at the area where Sabishi was looking at and sees smoke. Black ashes come up as if it was a large, black pillar that had come into formation just to mark the sky with its dreariness. Jonah looks back over at Sabishi.
“Swordsman?” He asks. Sabishi seems bewildered, but also like he’s anticipating something. Death. He’s anticipating death, Jonah thinks. Sabishi looks back over at Jonah and he scowls
“We’re heading over to that smoke, Jonah. It’s on the path to the next town, anyways. Actually, for all we know, that is the next town.” He tells him, before he turns around and begins to start sprinting when Jonah calls out to him.
“Wait, swordsman!” He yells out. Sabishi looks back at Jonah.
“What?” Jonah looks towards the ground, straight at his feet.
“What if…that’s just a smoke signal? No bandits, no thieves, no demons, just an ordinary smoke signal. We don’t need to rush there, right? In fact, we don’t even need to head there! There’s a lot of swordsmen in England right now, so there’s no way that-”
“Jonah, are you forgetting that we’re on the edge of war with the Demons right now? Their forces are rapidly increasing. Swordsmen or not, there’s no way we can be everywhere at once.” He turns around again. Jonah takes a step back as Sabishi grimaces in anger, his face contorting to a large expression of rage. “And in any case, attacks from all the groups you’ve just mentioned have been increasing. Since that smoke is on our pathway, we should head over there quickly and make sure things are alright. Got it?” Jonah gulps and nods quickly.
“Then, let’s go.”
The two run quickly, with Sabishi being ahead, of course. They keep running for the next ten minutes, in which Jonah attempts to persuade Sabishi to stop three times, with no success at all. Eventually, the duo arrive at the area of the smoke.
Sabishi’s eyes widen. The smoke is coming from a town called Jewlind. And from the looks of it, the houses have been set on fire. The town gates are smashed open, and dead bodies lie all around the area.
Jonah gasps and covers his mouth at the sight of the blood and corpses that are surrounding him.As he lets the fox from last night out of his stomach, Sabishi scans the area. Nothing. No one. He can hear voices and screams coming from deeper in the village, however.
“Shit…most of these people are dead now.” He sighs. “I was too late.” He stares at some of the corpses for a second, but he doesn’t reel in disgust. Instead, he goes closer to them and turns one of the corpses over.
It’s the dead body of a young man. A giant sword wound had pierced through his chest, and bruises were all over his face and body. Blood is still slowly leaking out from his corpse, and a small clean cut could be seen in the middle of his face, where you would expect to see a nose, but instead just see meat, flesh and bone.
His face is dry, with tears still resting below his eyes. His eyes are open and it looks like he was recoiling and staring at something in disgust. Flies have just begun to gather around him as well.
Sabishi presses down on the man’s eyelids and shuts his stiff eyelids closed, before he wipes away the tears and then lets out a quiet sigh. He then looks behind him. Jonah was wandering around the corpses, holding his stomach tightly.
“Jonah, are you okay?” Sabishi calls out. Jonah takes a moment before he slowly looks up at Sabishi and nods.
“I’m… I’m fine.” Sabishi jumps up and looks at the houses. They were set on fire and are still burning. Smoke continues to erupt from the ashes of the numerous wooden houses. “How the hell could anybody be so cruel…?” Jonah mumbles. Sabishi’s eyes close for a moment. He feels nostalgic. Like he’s at home. Like he’s on the battlefield. And maybe on the battlefield this would be okay. But in a small village? Though Sabishi can’t feel any true emotions for these people, he can still feel one thing.
“Only a group of demons could do this.” Sabishi states, knowingly. Jonah looks over at him.
“You sure? What if,” he looks over at the bodies spread out all around him. “What if it was a group of humans?” He asks. Sabishi stares at Jonah, before shaking his head.
“But what group of humans would be able to take out a village so quickly? They lit it on fire thirty minutes ago and it's already been completely annihilated.” He points out. That’s when Jonah turns his gaze over to a dead body.
“Sab- Swordsman, do you hear that?” He asks.
“There’s crying, coming from that body…” Jonah points his finger at the corpse of a woman, her eyes are opened fully and she has bloodstains all over her. But Sabishi notices something else. There’s something under the corpse.
He rushes over and throws the woman’s corpse away to find a young boy crying underneath it. He’s lying down on the ground with blood all over his shirt, and his hair is a mess. His hands are on his eyes, covering them as tears flow out.
Jonah runs over to the boy, before kneeling down.
“Swordsman…what do we do? This kid, he survived!” He exclaims. Sabishi stares at the child, before letting out a quick groan.
“Take the boy out of the village. We’ll question him about what happened here.” He says. Jonah nods and looks down at the boy.
“Hey, hey… are you okay? We’re here to help you!” Jonah whispers to him. The boy slowly moves his fingers out of his eyes, and sees Jonah and Sabishi’s faces through his tears. He stares at them for a quick moment, before he begins to cry some more.
“Mommy!” He bawls. His scream echoes throughout the village. Sabishi quickly turns towards Jonah.
“Shit! Jonah, take the boy and run out of the village! I need to find the people responsible for this, and they almost definitely just heard the child scream!” Jonah shivers, before quickly picking up the boy and he begins to sprint out the village. That’s when two things emerge from the ruins of one of the houses nearby. Jonah doesn’t immediately recognize what they are, but Sabishi does.
Their darkened skin, the two extra limbs above their normal arms, their slimy horns and long tongues which are drooling for more human meat. Their eyes are pure white along with the short hair they have on their heads. Two axes are being held by two of their four arms and their tall, but bony appearances help cement it.
These are demons. This entire village got burnt to the ground by demons. These people got tortured and killed by demons. Sabishi's eyes widen, his pupils shrink and he digs his right foot into the ground. He can feel energy flowing freely through him, and his eyebrows close down onto his eyes as he whispers a single sentence to himself:
“Mahō, form one: Kami’s agility.”
Energy flows through Sabishi’s legs and torso as he pushes against the ground and rushes towards the demons at an unseeable speed while he pulls his sword out his sheate in milliseconds and quickly presses it against the head of the demon that’s on the left. He slices off the demon’s head so fast that the other demon has no idea what’s happening as he loses his head as well. Both of the bodies fall to the ground and their heads land near them.
Crimson red blood gets spit out within seconds and Sabishi stares at the bodies of the demons coldly. Jonah rushes past Sabishi as the boy on his back continues to cry. They both know what’s going to happen next.
As soon as Sabishi sees Jonah get out of the area, he quickly rushes deeper and deeper into the village grounds. He sees more and more things on fire, not just the houses but the humans too. More corpses litter the ground with their blood, and no one is alive. Throughout his rush to find the “leader” of whichever group attacked this area, Sabishi continuously knocked off the heads of over 20 different demons on sight.
He follows the screams he’s hearing from the right hand corner of the village in order to find the leader, and it works. Sabishi stops quickly near a house that was burning to the ground, panting heavily. He gulps and looks around the corner to see humans. Alive, this time. But death might have been a better fate for them.
A demon lay around on a nice, comfy leather bed, presumably the mayor of the village’s bed before the demons attacked, while other groups of demons raped a few women. The women were screaming as the demons continuously pounded their dirty flesh onto their bodies, all as they watched the few surviving men and children get tortured to death. Sabishi stared at the sight for a moment before he grit his teeth.
“Bastards…” He mumbled, as he once again placed his hands on his sword’s hilt. “Mahō, form one: Kami’s agility!” Once again, his body moved at an astounding speed, quickly rushing through the hordes of demons in the area. The demon in the bed quickly noticed this and jumped up as Sabishi ran amok, destroying his followers. Heads rolled around, not just demons, but humans too.
After already using the ability before and being tired, while now being in a blinding rage, Sabishi was moving too fast to differentiate human from demon, and instead murdered everyone in the vicinity.
The bed demon took out his sword and attempted to see where the killer was coming from, but he was moving too slow to notice Sabishi coming straight behind him. He moved his sword up into the air, before quickly jumping off the bed and throwing his arm down, slicing the bed demon’s head off. He then took off, rushing throughout the area and slicing at anything that moved.
A minute later Sabishi was lying on the ground among all of the dead bodies he had just created. Blood was all over him and his sword and his breathing was heavy. He places his hand on his face and groans.
“Shit…I lost myself, again.” He says. He turns his head and looks around at the bodies surrounding him, his anger waning as he sees what he himself had caused. A bloodbath, not just of the demons, but the humans too.
The corpse right next to Sabishi was the body of a woman, whose eyes are still open. Tears are still flowing out of them. Sabishi stares at her, but doesn’t close her eyes. He just places his hand on the woman's open hand, and grips it tightly. It’s cold.
“I’m sorry…” Sabishi says, as he places his left hand on his face and turns his body around once again. This time he’s staring at the sky, which is now darker and full of smoke. He reaches his hand out towards out. “I wonder what she would think…”
Ten minutes pass and Sabishi emerges from the rubble of the village, much to the happiness of Jonah. The boy they had saved earlier lies on the ground, next to a giant tree, rubbing his eyes. Jonah looks up at Sabishi.
“Well, did ya get them?” He asks. Sabishi stares at Jonah with tired, empty eyes, before nodding.
“Yes. I did. However,” He looks over at the boy. “None of the humans in the village are alive anymore. They’re all dead. The demons killed them in cold blood.” Jonah’s mouth drops open, and the boy looks up at Sabishi, once again on the verge of tears,
“They’re all dead…?” He asks, before he starts crying again. Sabishi looks at him for a moment, before looking back at Jonah.
“Let’s go, Jonah.” He says, before he begins to walk past him. Jonah grasps his hand, and pulls him back.
“Swordsman, we can't just abandon Eric! We should take him with us.” Sabishi looks down at Jonah.
“Yeah, that’s his name. We can’t just leave him here, can we!? Let’s take him with us!” Jonah exclaims. Sabishi stares at Jonah, but this time, his eyes aren’t unfeeling. They seem tired and full of sadness. Yet, Sabishi can’t feel any of it.
“Huh!? But swordsman, we seriously can’t just leave him here! He’s lost everyone! Those demons murdered his family, right in front of him! It took everything he had in him to explain to me! And now all of the villagers are dead! No one’s gonna take care of him! We have to take him with us!” Jonah screams. Sabishi shakes his head.
“We still can’t. Now stop making a fuzz and-”
“But Sa-” Jonah stops for a moment, before continuing. “Swordsman, he’s only nine-!”
“Do I look like I want to deal with this shit right now, Jonah!? How the hell am I going to take care of a nine year old!? It takes everything I have to take care of you, already! This isn’t a damn circus, this is real life!” He yells out. Sabishi pants heavily, before placing his palm on his forehead. “Please, don’t make this harder than it needs to be, for me and you, Jonah.”
Jonah stares at Sabishi before gulping. “Bu- but you took me in-!”
“Because I had to. You were twelve, you could at the very least take care of yourself. And I was the one that was responsible for you losing everyone. This time, it was the demon's fault. So please, please, please, Jonah. Just stop and leave him.” Jonah looks over at Eric, who’s sobbing uncontrollably. He looks at him, before shifting his gaze down to the dirt that he’s standing on.
“Eric…I’m sorry…” Jonah says, before turning away, and following behind Sabishi. Eric looks up and through his tears sees the two of them leaving.
“H- huh? No, please don’t, please don’t go! Please! Please! I have no one else! Please! Please!” He pleads. Sabishi and Jonah continue to walk forwards.
“Don’t look back, Jonah.” Sabishi says. Jonah curls his fingers into a ball, and closes his eyes.
“Please don’t go!” Eric extends his arm towards the two men walking away from him while sobbing uncontrollably. “Please…”
Sabishi continues to move forwards. But his legs are shaking. He looks towards the sky, once again, and closes his eyes.